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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  August 6, 2016 11:34am-11:46am EDT

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our comcast cable partners work travelys staff will meet to michigan to explore its history. prior to the civil war. it served as an porton from the underground railroad. learn more about port huron all begin here on american history tv. >> we are at lake park -- lakeport state park. back in june of 1962, this was owned by the united auto workers and union members would come up. in the summers and weekends with the families. time was theone site for the students of a democratic society. to write what has become known as the port huron statement. the students for a democratic society were a group formed in ann arbor michigan paper, tom
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hayden, and a few others. they wanted to bring about a more democratic society. they figure they needed a manifesto to bring that about. so they came here to write their manifesto. sds was a student group. they wanted to build a more democratic society. they looked at the problems the united states and said these come about because of a lack of democracy. so in order to fix them, we need more. and so they came together here working from an original draft by tom hayden and they broken up into pieces, gave it to about -- groups of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 people. they worked on each of the sections for four or five days. of whaten wrote a draft
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became the port huron statement. he brought it here, divided it up and each group worked on it -- a particular section. three or four days later, they came together and voted on the final piece. and it went forward. itting together an sds why is thought it was important, they looked around america and they sell the process of racism and poverty, and political apathy. they thought that the best way to address those problems were to get students involved. students -- college college students have intellectual skills and time to work on social problems and bring about a more democratic society. influenced during the time.
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of 1962 into the 70's was quite big. statement in a sense of the cattle last to the 1960's student movement. it really got the ball rolling in the sense that college students felt that they belonged and that they mattered and if they could make a change in society. it wasn't just the port huron statement, it was a lot of their work that sds did afterwards. they would send people to college campuses to organize chapters and bring in members. they grew up into the and 68 and 69lit to about a million members. is quite a big movement that was just done through hard work, campaigns, and people talking to other people. they wanted to introduce what's called a new left. a new left broke with communism. they did not have this sort of
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completely set up system. they instead advocated for what's called participatory democracy. they thought that if you make everybodyavailable to and that everybody has a say in the decisions that affect their lives, you could bring about a better society. what that society will look like, we don't know. they are explicit in the port huron statement. that gives us with that angle is. they just simply say, we think haveall human beings are undeveloped capacities for reasons, freedom, and love. the goal is to set up a society to foster those capacities. hurons in the port statement? i think it's interesting to just look at the first sentence. we are people of this generation bread and at least moderate -- modest comfort, house now and
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universities, looking uncomfortably to the world being here. sentence,rticular they are saying a lot of things. we are worried about the future. let's look at the world we are about to inherit. if you look at the majority of the port huron statement, it doesn't give out this complete political philosophy. it looks at the problems that they are about to get. that is systemic racism, the cold war, and political apathy amongst the people. not to mention widespread poverty. sds thought that these social problems came about because of a lack of democracy. so their fix was more democracy. not less. students andout 60 they came here really because it
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had the infrastructure, right now there's just this wonderful park. at the time they're a bunch of different cabins, there is a large kitchen area so that they could cook and sleep and hold on the people that were here. again was to work on this in draft that tom wrote. used a participatory democracy method to try and write the document. for the 50thm here anniversary of the port huron statement in 2012. tom does not slow down. amazing that he's in his early 70's, and he just keeps moving. he keeps writing and it's quite incredible. here, herought him
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came, bolted out of the car and went right to the water. and was standing there looking out over the water, and i have pure -- -- i think the port huron statement has the sort of long, slow influence. it was not right out of the gate influence. but today, there is many people, many activists who are working on things like participatory budgeting, new york, chicago have money set aside for local areas and in the people get together and decide how that money is going to be spent. all of that, i think is traceable back to the port huron statement. and participatory democracy. they tried to build a student movement, they try to build a
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democracy movement, and then his 69ctured and 68 and 60 91 -- when a group of sds members went to a more revolutionary left and espouse violence. tom and how haber wanted to be more reformist and a fractured and it was all over. up, there waske almost a million members. college students around the hadtry campuses everywhere sds chapters. it became very integral to the peace movement, the antiwar movement and just the general's 60 -- 60's student movement. as hard to break them apart. they also became one of the same. is the port huron statement represented today is one of two ways. or maybe two of two ways.
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say isthis idea that i very noble document looking for kerry democracy, wanting to be more inclusive and bring people together. and have more democracy, not less. of course, there's another group of people that say is this radical, hippie document that, that they are bunch of degenerates that wrote it and that sort of thing. you need to just decide for yourself. what i would like to under and -- people to understand about the port huron statement is that we have not achieved our country yet. we are not there. and we need to do more. each one of us. and that democracy can open up the society for us. and that the political life is actually a way to bring us
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together. that we can talk to each other, we can work together to solve shared problems. and make this a more just and democratic society. statement that ends in the sort of ominously haunting sound and. it says if we appear to seek the unattainable as it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable. i think the unimaginable that they had there was the cold war and nuclear war, lack of democracy, the continuation of the rampant racism in america at that time. that scared them. and that move them to organize and get people to join. this weekend we are featuring
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the history of port huron michigan. learn more about port huron and other stops on our cities tour at c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. each week, american artifacts takes viewers into archives, these ends and historic sites around the country. next, we visit the new smithsonian national museum of african american history and culture. which stands on the national mall in the shadow of the washington monument and within sight of the white house. founding director lonnie bunch leads a hardhat tour through the museum which opens its doors to the public on september 24 after a three-hour outdoor ceremony expected to feature president obama.

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